A Safe & Comprehensive List of Essential Oils for "Back to School"
Tuesday, October 31, 2017
The phrase "back to school" can either evoke a sense of calm, appreciation and well-being or a sense of dread and despair. Regardless of how you feel about it, the kids are going back to school so what does that mean for you as a parent? I know for me, some of the first things that come to mind are schedules, making lunches ("aaah, what am I going to make today that is healthy AND the kid will actually eat!?"), picking out clothes, homework and last but not least, what can I do so that my child doesn't come home sick? Now of course, we all know that children get sick and it is a part of growing up and strengthening the immune system to fight the REALLY nasty guys. BUT, other than the extra snuggles and down-time from almost being "sworded to death", we'd prefer it didn't happen.
So, what can we do to boost the immune system and/or help the kiddos feel better quicker? I like to use essential oils, some homeopathic/herbal remedies and energy healing. Now, before I get into which ones I recommend, I want to talk about your best choices for essential oils, some buzz words in the industry and I also need to issue a word (or a few words) of caution. I would not be responsible if I didn't first cover some important information, but I promise, after you read all of this, you will get to the "meat & potatoes"!
Just because something is "natural" does not make it "safe". Lately, I have been reading a lot of dangerous recommendations and some of them seriously make me cringe. Some of this erroneous information TOTALLY contradicts the respected advice and scope of practice recommended by Aromatherapy and Herbal associations and health care providers. Essential oils are not only potent, but extremely concentrated. For example, ONE drop of an essential oil is the equivalent of 25-75 cups of the herbal tea of the same plant. Because of this potency, there have been cases of poisonings and/or fatalities from accidental overdose, burns, photo toxicity and other damages. Ingesting essential oils is NOT something I take lightly and if you are going to pursue that avenue, I suggest you do so under the consultation and supervision of a certified aromatherapist who you highly regard. Some of the information out there is conflicting, but for the most part, if you use some cautionary principles, you and your family will be safe using essential oils.
5 Steps to Choosing Essential Oils:
First, they should be USDA Certified Organic. Why? Because you know you are getting the purest product possible. There are NO pesticides used, no GMOs, sewage sludge fertilizer or ionizing radiation. In addition, any product certified organic goes through a 3rd party certifier who makes sure the company is indeed "organic". This is ESPECIALLY important when you are using a product that is SO potent and concentrated! If you need further clarification as to why using USDA certified organic ingredients are important, please read my blog about it here:
Second, does the company package its own oils? This kind of goes with #1. If a company is not packaging the oils themselves, HOW DOES THE COMPANY KNOW WHAT IT IS GETTING? It has to trust the manufacturing/packaging facility which puts yet ANOTHER person in the middle of YOU and your essential oils! Who needs that!? At Poofy Organics, we package everything in our facility so we are our OWN quality control. Oh yea, and Baystate Organic Certifiers makes sure we are doing our jobs as "organic" suppliers!
Third, look to make sure the company is owned by a certified aromatherapist or essential oil specialist. You want to know that the company understands what to look for and is making safe blends for you and your family based on the science of essential oils.
Fourth, does the supplier list a Certificate of Origin and Method of Extraction for their essential oils? AtPoofy Organics, we are constantly updating our website to provide up-to-the-minute information with each batch of essential oils we receive. We receive our own GC/MS for each batch from our certified organic suppliers.
Fifth, does the supplier have a strong ethical reputation in the field? If the company does not have high standards, what makes you think they are telling the truth about their oils? Like Dr. Robert Pappas states, "if the leader of a company has a history of misinformation, arrest records for practicing medicine without a license, getting sued for injuring people by improper use of essential oils, using the name of credible people inappropriately for personal gain and questionable ethics in general, then it's probably not a company that should be taken seriously by an educated EO consumer"
Let's take a look at those Buzz Words:
Companies have been using trademark marketing terms in an attempt to set their essential oils apart and allude to them being superior or held to a higher standard than other companies such as "Therapeutic grade", "Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade" and "Certified Pure Pharma Grade". Let us be clear. There is NO such thing as a "therapeutic grade essential oil" and there is no independent body or quality standards for the authentication or performance of essential oils that designates this name. Unadulterated essential oils are, by nature, therapeutic.
Those questioning "therapeutic grade" are now beginning to use the mythical A,B & C grading of essential oils. Again, any company that claims grading is also not backed by any reputable source on essential oil.
Vibrational frequencies: According to Dr. Pappas, it makes no scientific sense at all and it would be impossible to characterize an essential oil or even a single essential oil molecule as having a single vibrational energy frequency.
"first" "second" and "complete" distillations When it comes to essential oils, the "first" "second" or "complete" does not describe how MANY distillations an oil goes through. There is no such thing as re-distiling when it comes to EOs. According to Tisserand, "Two essential oils- camphor and ylang ylang- undergo a separation process during distillation, so there are five grades of ylang-ylang oil (extra, I, II, III and complete), and four colors of camphor oil (white, blue, yellow, brown). But, none of these involves re-distillation." Depending on the essential oil, it could take anywhere from two to up to 36 hours to fully distill- wood oils typically taking the longest. The most important part of the process is beginning with the basics. Start with an organic healthy plant grown in organic healthy soil grown in its native region and patiently wait for the entire distillation.
1. Essential oils should NOT be applied "neat" (undiluted). There are only two that can be put directly on the skin and that is Tea Tree & Lavender. Sensitization can occur over time and is irreversible! If your child has sensitive skin, it is important to test a small area before using a new oil blend.
2. Keep EOs away from the eyes.
3. When your child is taking medications, reduce the amount of essential oil by half the amount recommended for their age group.
4. Always dilute according to the age AND sensitivity of a person.
5. Do not ingest essential oils. The International Federation of Aromatherapists Code of Ethics states – No aromatherapist shall use essential oils for internal ingestion or internal application nor shall any aromatherapist advocate or promote such use of essential oils unless the practicing aromatherapist has medical, naturopathic, herbalist, or similar qualifications and holds an insurance policy which specifically covers the internal application of essential oils. (IFA code of ethics. Simply Essential, No. 11 December 1993).
6. Find a reputable source for your oils.
7. Report any bad reactions of essential oils based on the information provided by a sales rep. Robert Tisserand, a leader in Aromatherapy, often called the Father of Modern Aromatherapy and author of Essential Oil Safety for Aromatherapy Professionals collects information about these cases. Please email him directly with as much detail as possible at firstname.lastname@example.org. Another place to report it is the Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy.
Safe Dilution Rates: The recommended correct dilution for topical use is .5% for babies (avoid in newborns) 1% for children over 6, the elderly & pregnant, individuals with sensitive skin or compromised immune systems, 2% for adults and 3%-5% for medicinal use. Use dilutions of 10%-25% only under acute circumstances and for short-term. To make it easier, you can go by this: children and the elderly is 1 drop of EO per 1 teaspoon carrier oil. I like to use organic coconut or sunflower because they are both readily available and inexpensive. The average adult can use 2 drops EO per 1 teaspoon carrier oil. For children under two, a .5% usage rate is suggested which would convert to 1 drop of child-safe EO per 2 teaspoons carrier oil. You can always use hydrosols for infants which are much less concentrated and safer to use.
"SAFE" Practices for Essential Oils:
Aaaaaaand, FINALLY, without further ado, here are my recommendations!
1. "Thieves" blend. You'll want to arm your child with the most researched-based and peer-reviewed essential oil blend out there. It is a combination of Lemon or Orange, Cinnamon, Clove, Eucalyptus & Rosemary. If you are uncomfortable using Eucalytpus because of the age of the child, you can substitute fir for eucalyptus OR use eucalyptus radiata. This blend is GREAT for diffusing in the home or you can make a blend and apply to the bottom of your child's feet to boost the immune system!
2. "Wake Up & Focus blend". This is a great blend to help your kids wake-up or focus on tasks. You can put it into an essential oil diffuser in the morning or even send them off to school with a roll-on bottle and roll it on their wrists. You'll want to use a Citrus/Mint combo such as Peppermint, Spearmint & Orange. For children under 5, you can substitute the Peppermint with Fir or something else minty!
3. Mood Boost & Smart oil. Combine Lemon & Rosemary essential oil (in children over 6). These oils are known to improve brain performance and mood. You can diffuse the blend, use a shampoo with the oils infused (Poofy has one!), or make a roller and apply to the back of the neck or the wrists. It will help with focus and aids in concentration.
4. "Calming" Blend. Our Poofy "Peace Muse" blends oils of Ylang Ylang, Patchouli, Orange,Roman Chamomile, Lavender, Marjoram, Neroli & Bergamot. Don't have all of those oils on hand? Pick a few and go with them! I like to diffuse or use the blend to spread lightly on my children's pillows before bed. You know what this blend also helps with? Mommies with anxiety...hint, hint.
5. "Mommy, My Tummy Hurts! blend: Oils that ease intestinal bloating and invigorate sluggish digestion are Basil, Fennel, Marjoram, Thyme, Chamomile, Peppermint & Ginger. They can be rubbed on the belly (diluted) in a clockwise direction or diffused. Sometimes just smelling Ginger EO will calm nausea!
6. "Congestion/Allergy" Relief blend: Blend for children over 5: Fir, Chamomile, Eucalyptus & Peppermint. Under 5, Orange, Cypress, Fir & Cinnamon. OR, you can purchase the Vapor Rub at Poofy.
BONUS recommendations that have nothing to do with EOs:
1. Elderberry extract. This is the BEST thing I have found to boost the immune system naturally. You can purchase an organic kind or make your own with this recipe:
2. Chestal is a Homeopathic "Cold & Cough" Remedy to relieve symptoms
3. Umka is an herbal remedy to help with cold symptoms
4. Organic Raw Honey is a natural antibacterial, antiviral and antibiotic.
5. Flu "shot"
6. REIKI- this ancient form of energy healing helps my little man feel good when he has a fever and he often asks for it!
7. Sore Throat:
Books to Begin or Expand your EO Education:
Essential Oil Safety, A Guide for Health Care Professionals by Tisserand and Balacs
Aromatherapy Soothing Remedies to Restore, Rejuvenate and Heal by Valerie Cooksley, RN
The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy by Salvatore Battaglia
Essential Oils for Beginners: The Guide to Getting Started with Essential Oils and Aromatherapy by Althea Press
The Complete Book of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood
To conclude, essential oils are powerful and can help our bodies perform optimally; however, they need to be taken seriously and with care. Take the time to get to know essential oils and purchase them from a source you trust and you will learn to love them as much as I do and develop a lifelong friendship with them!